Time for a chai break! When we're back in Kerala, everything tends to work like clock work. Breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner are at certain times of the day. Tea at my maternal grandparents' place is at 3pm, right after a post-lunch power snooze. Tea at my paternal grandparents' place is a little more relaxed, it's at around 3-5pm, depending on when everyone's back from their afternoon activities.
The tea itself (or "chaaya" as we call it in Malayalam, my mother tongue) is usually a casual affair. Boil water, add tea leaves then milk, and sugar for taste. Accompanied by a myriad of different snacks like biscuits or homemade snacks like unniyappams*drool*. Take me back to the land of coconuts so I may gorge myself.... <3
'Tis the season for chai
But, when the occasion warrants it, we bust out the spices. Like when you're feeling particularly decadent and want some *oomph* with your chai, or when guests come over and you want to end the meal with a proper bang! Usually, post meal, we'll add ginger (a great digestive) and sometimes cardamom - together it gives a slight sweetness and light bite to the tea. More lazy kitchen hacks - my kinda cooking :P
Having said that, masala tea, with all the spices, is absolutely divine. Time seems to slow down as you stop and savour the flavours of the tea and the combination of spices. Must say though, masala tea is BEST enjoyed with a spoon (or two) of sugar to really bring out the interplay of spices. You're welcome. :D
Ayurveda and the 5 spice masala chai
What are the 5 spices of which I speak? Glad you asked. It's ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and black peppercorn. Pepper, ginger, cardamom and cinnamon are known for enhancing digestion and your metabolism. Additionally, cinnamon, ginger and clove are warming spices so it's best to have these particular spices during winter. Probably the reason I feel ever so toasty after a hot cup of masala chai! :)
Fun fact: ginger, specifically, is good for the digestive and respiratory system. Whenever we have a sore throat at home, our go-to soothing recipe is fresh ground ginger heated and added to a spoonful of honey. According to Ayurveda, NEVER heat up honey - it completely changes the chemical make up to that akin to poison for our body. So, heat up the ginger; not the honey, when making this soothing concoction.
Stay warm, toasty and healthy! <3
A nice steel strainer to strain the tea and a pot for boiling the water.
1. Bring the water to a boil. Add all the ingredients except milk and sugar. Boil again for about 30 seconds. (You can continue to boil up to 5 minutes - depending on how much flavour you want in your tea.) Let stand for 1 minute.
2. Warm milk in a pot (or warm milk in the microwave for about 45 seconds)
3. Filter the tea into cups
4. Add milk and sugar. Serve :)
Note: sugar should be added to bring out the full flavours of the spices. You can choose whichever sugar you'd like to add - we used brown sugar.